Doc Rivers out as Clippers head coach after 7 seasons

·3 min read

Doc Rivers’ time with the Los Angeles Clippers is over.

Rivers is out as the Clippers head coach following their loss in the Western Conference semifinals at Walt Disney World earlier this month, both he and the team announced on Monday afternoon.

The decision, the team said in a release, was mutual.

“Doc has been a terrific coach for the Clippers, an incredible ambassador and a pillar of strength during tumultuous times,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said in a statement. “He won a heck of a lot of games and laid a foundation for this franchise.

“I am immeasurably grateful to Doc for his commitment and contribution to the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles. I am also extremely confident in our front office and our players.”

Rivers had just finished his seventh season with the organization, where he compiled a 356-208 overall record. They reached the postseason in all but one season under his watch, but never made it out of the semifinals.

“When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination and bring a championship to this organization,” Rivers said in a statement on Twitter, in part. “While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won’t be able to see them all through.

“Though it was a disappointing ending to our season, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support.”

Clippers bounced from playoffs after blowing 3-1 lead

Rivers and the Clippers nearly reached the Western Conference finals for the first time in his tenure this season, as they mounted a commanding 3-1 lead in their semifinal series with the Denver Nuggets earlier this month.

The Clippers, however, watched that lead disappear almost instantly. The Nuggets rallied back from double-digit holes in the final three games of that series to upset the Clippers and reach the Western Conference finals.

Rivers is the only head coach in league history to blow a 3-1 lead three times in his career — he did so with the Clippers in 2015 and with the Orlando Magic in 2003.

Rivers spent five seasons with the Magic and nine seasons with the Boston Celtics — where he won an NBA title in 2008 — before making the jump to Los Angeles in 2013. The 58-year-old had two years left on his deal with the Clippers.

Rivers likely won’t stay on the market for long. Both the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans — who each recently split with their respective coaches — have reportedly already reached out to him. The Rockets and Indiana Pacers are also still without a coach for next season.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Houston Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are among the top candidates who will be considered to replace Rivers in Los Angeles. Van Gundy, 58, has served as an NBA analyst for ESPN since 2007.

“We will find the right coach to lead us forward and help us reach our ultimate goals,” Ballmer said in a statement. “We will begin the search and interview process immediately.”

Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers
Doc Rivers' time with the Clippers is over. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

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